Picture it: you’re standing at the edge of a wooden platform that’s about 150 feet above the jungle floor. Your heart’s racing, your hands are sweating, but you know you are perfectly safe because you are equipped with a helmet, harness and work gloves. You have an experienced tour guide with you that checks the harness and snaps the carabiner into the pulleys that will carry you over a valley of greenery. You take a deep breathe, place a gloved hand onto the strap that connects the harness to the pulley and you lift your feet up and swoop off of the platform disappearing into a thick tangle of trees. As you are gliding done the zip line you remind yourself to look down because the view is breathtaking. All of this sounds like fun, right? If you are ready to take this exhilarating adventure, here’s some of the 5 best places in the world to zip line.
Icy Straight Point, Alaska
The largest zip line in the United States, the ZipRider, can be found in Icy Straight Point, Alaska. It’s more than a mile long and has a vertical drop of about 1,300 feet. This 90 second ride can handle up to 6 riders who simultaneously zip down 6 different parallel lines. The average speed for riders is about 60 mph. Those brave enough to go down this zip line will go over not only parts of an ocean, but a tree covered mountain as well. Another option while in Alaska is to zipline in Juneau. Experience 7 ziplines and cross at 150 ft suspension bridge 40 ft above the ground that hovers above the headwaters of a salmon spawning stream.
Arenal Volcano Park, Costa Rica
The zip line at Arenal Volcano Park in Costa Rica is definitely not for those that are afraid of hot lava. That’s because this almost two mile long zip line, called The Sky Trek, takes riders right by the Arenal Volcano, which is still considered to be active. Even though this volcano hasn’t erupted since 1984, park rangers still monitor it to make sure that there’s no flowing lava. Riders soar through the jungle and over Arenal Lake. There’s also the option to zip line at night as well. For those that aren’t feeling quite ready to try The Sky Trek, they can still see quite a few fantastic views of the jungle by going on the open air gondola called Sky Walk. There are lots of places to zip line in Costa Rica – the picture below is of a zipline in the Costa Rica countryside.
Hocking Hills, Ohio
You don’t have to travel to a faraway place to find an incredible place to zip line. Hocking Hills Canopy Tours offers a quarter mile zip line experience called the SuperZip. Riders will reach speeds of about 50 mph as they go over a dense forest, a cliff and Hocking River. This zip line is perfect for couples as the zip lines is built for two riders at a time. Just like with the zip line at Arenal Volcano Park, riders have the option to zip line at night on select days. In addition to the SuperZip there’s 10 different zip lines that are slower in speed.
One of the most interesting things about the Simatai zip line in China is that in order to get to it, riders have to hike up the stairs of the Great Wall of China. Not very many zip lines can say that they have one of the Seven Wonders of the World as backdrop. Once to the top, riders will zip line down over Mandarin Duck Lake where they can see the spectacular mountains in the area. The trek up the Great Wall of China can be strenuous so there is also a chairlift ride available for those that don’t want to exert themselves.
Allure of the Seas & Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
This zip line made our list of the top 5 best places in the world to zip line because, well, zip lining on a cruise ship is just plain awesome! Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas zip lines only lasts for about 10 seconds, but riders will have the chance to fly down nine flights directly above other vacationers. To us, that sounds pretty cool!
While on the subject of cruising, you can also Zipline on any Royal Caribbean cruise that stops in Labadee, Haiti. It’s called Dragon’s Breath Fight Line. Unleash your sense of adventure as you soar down the side of a mountain attached to a 2,600-foot long flight line. You can enjoy incredible views of the beach while soaring 500 ft. over the water at speeds of 40 to 50 mph.
Zip line or canopy tours have grown quite popular over the years. Zip line excursions can be taken by pretty much all age groups, but before you book one you should ask about the number of zip lines available, if there is a lot of walking or hiking to get to the starting point and if there are any age, height or weight limits so that you make sure the trip is right for you. When planning a vacation, keep in mind that many family tours are designed with lots of activities included in the price, such as horseback riding, river rafting and of course zip line tours.